Friday, September 21, 2012

Insects and birds

A few recent sunny days have provided me with the opportunity to make use of my macro lens; taking photos of mainly butterflies and dragonflies. The Pectoral Sandpiper at Inner Marsh Farm a week ago was too distant for anything other than "record" shots, so the Red Darters and Small Tortoiseshells were more than welcome. A beautiful Comma butterfly spent a few days in my back garden feeding on one of the many Sedums. A trip to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve produced sightings of Otter, Marsh Harrier and Kingfisher, but again all too distant for photography, the commoner birds were much more obliging.

Comma, making good use of the new decking, photographed in
 my back garden.

Red Darter, Inner Marsh Farm. Note fly prey in top photo.
Small Tortoiseshell, Inner Marsh Farm.
Grey Heron, Leighton Moss RSPB.

Moorhen, Leighton Moss RSPB.


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Butterflies, Dragonflies and BMX
Leighton Moss

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BBC Wildlife Magazine

I read my first ever issue of BBC Wildlife in June 1984; with a bumble bee on the cover, it was placed carefully next to my bowl of Rice Krispies as I came down for breakfast. I haven't missed a copy since, but little did I think that one day my photographs might grace this illustrious magazine's pages.
I had a picture of a Ladybird Spider printed last year, and this October's issue has one of my Spotted Dolphin photos; it's a real thrill to see my photos in print.

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and calf in the Azores.

Ladybird Spider, Mount Ipsilou, Lesvos, 2011.

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Spotted Dolphins in the Azores

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spotted Dolphins in the Azores

One of the highlights (and there were many!) of my boat trips with Futurismo on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores was the sighting of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins. These charismatic cetaceans were seen on nearly all my boat trips. They were a species that I really wanted to see as I had not seen them before; and what a treat they were, bow-riding, leaping, breaching, diving and throwing themselves around with reckless abandon. And on one memorable occasion a large pod of "spotties" swam at great speed, porpoising in a long line adjacent to the catamaran that was itself motoring at a rate of knots.
This species only appears in the waters around the Azores in the summer months when the sea-temperature is high enough for them. The younger animals are plain grey and become more spotty as they mature. Om some of the photos grey calves can be seen swimming with, presumably, a darker, more spotted parent animal.
These playful, engaging dolphins are one of the reasons that I fully intend to return to the Azores.

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Common Dolphins in the Azores part2
Common Dolphins in the Azores part1

Monday, September 3, 2012

Butterflies, Dragonflies and BMX

I returned to Llandegla in North Wales last Saturday afternoon with my son Adam as the weather was still looking good for photographing insects. After lunching on some excellent food in the cafe (mentioned in The Times' Good Food Supplement!), we walked down to the reservoir where I had had good views of butterflies last week. Although it had clouded over somewhat there were still reasonable numbers of butterflies on the thistles. So we spent a happy few hours filming and photographing.

Peacocks were the most abundant butterfly present with about a 
dozen seen in one small area.

At least two Red Admirals were feeding on the nectar, this is
 one of my favourite butterflies.

 The underside of the Red Admiral is cryptically coloured,
 probably to camouflage the butterfly during winter hibernation.

Only one Small Tortoiseshell was seen, a beautiful insect that has
sadly declined in number in recent years.

A few Black Darters were seen, mainly the yellow females as pictured
This Common Lizard was seen warming up on a metal grid.

No trip to Llandegla would be complete without a ride on the trails.
I'd ridden these jumps before on my mountain bike, but doing them on
my BMX was something new and great fun! 

You might like: Llandegla Mountain Biking.